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Pavagadh is a famous hillock about 46 kilometres from Baroda in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat. It's a popular place for all kinds of travellers, adventure seeking trekkers as well as those visiting the place purely to get the blessings of Mahakali, whose temple is on top of the hill.
The height of the Pavagadh hill is 822 metres and the best time for a visit is during the monsoon when the entire are turns beautiful bright green and the walk up to the hill is a cakewalk. If you can't hike, there is also a ropeway which can take you up faster and without a lot of efforts. However, beware on holidays and weekends the queue is long and it might just be faster to walk up :)
This wasn’t the first time I saw Pavagadh, but it certainly was the most memorable trip to this beautiful, mist covered hill temple.
It was the six of us – Vikram, Manoj, Katie, Niren, Nona and me; Bhavin skipped out of the trip at the last minute. Started early morning around 4:30, but by the time we picked Manoj from his house it was already sunrise. By then our driver had also conclusively proved to us that the journey would be an eventful and thrilling one.
Before I continue further, let me give a quick update on the members in the team. Vikram is junior from NID and a colleague from Lumium, fun loving and absolute fun to be with. Manoj is also a colleague from Lumium, and he is the calm Buddha, but that’s just the facade which hides much much more. Katie was an intern at Lumium from USA and this was her first outing outside Ahmedabad, she is fiery and a Viking at heart and by blood as well. Niren and Nona are the remarkably silent friends of Vikram, they did warm up to our utter nonsense and it was fun to be with them!
Pavagarh is located at a distance of about 190 km km from Ahmedabad and it takes about 4 hours and numerous toll bridges to reach the destination. One has to get down at Machi and then there are two ways of reaching the top; you can either take a rope-way or walk up to the temple, we of course walked. It was a beautiful and misty morning and walking was fun. There was little to trek as the path was already made (steps/ ramps all the way to the top) and all we had to do was follow the way. And it was often dirty, pilgrims certainly do know how to leave their remains after (possibly even before) visiting the temple.
There are numerous shops all along the journey, and even more hungry monkeys. In fact we all got to know about Katie’s love for monkeys in the trip. But before she could reach the monkeys, she was already named junglee kabootar by one of the rather scary looking women, ready to cleanse our souls with their brooms.
There is another interesting and almost completely crumpled mosque on the way up. The place looked almost surreal in the morning mist and we ended up spending quite a lot of time here, and taking many snaps.
The base of the temple was a Kumbh Mela for us, Manoj, Niren and me got separated from the rest of the junta and went and visited the temple. Amazingly the rest of the group kept looking for us and ended up completely ignoring the Devi. The darshan wasn’t all that easy, we queued for about half an hour before we could look at the sacred idol and make our demands. However, it’s actually the temple top which is the most delightful point. The wind is unbelievable, strong and very cold. There is another small shrine on top.
We were done with the hill for now and took the rope way for our return trip down the hill, the walking distance looked remarkable from the car. Lunch was already on our mind, but somehow it kept getting postponed to a later time. Getting into our car from Machi, we immediately started for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Champaner. Interestingly, Baiju Bawra, the famous 16th century music maestro belonged to this place. He was then considered a rival to Tansen.